External Stakeholder Dialogue and Communication
VinylPlus is committed to building sustainability awareness along the value chain and among stakeholders both inside and outside the industry. It is also committed to frank and open dialogue with all stakeholders, third parties, institutions and organisations in technical, political and social communities.
The 3rd stakeholder meeting organised by VinylPlus took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 2015. The objective was to discuss in depth the role of PVC in the circular economy with influential Danish stakeholders. The main topic was controlled-loop management of PVC waste, including the key issue of legacy additives. The meeting, facilitated by TNS, was attended by about 20 representatives of the Danish EPA, the City of Copenhagen, environmental NGOs, academia, leading Scandinavian construction companies and the waste sector. It gave VinylPlus valuable input and greater insight into stakeholders’ perspective on the circular economy.
Dialogue and cooperation continued to be enhanced in 2015. The 2nd Partnering for VinylPlus Communication Event was held in Brussels, Belgium, in March 2015 to share best practices and a common vision for VinylPlus communications. It was attended by 30 representatives of the VinylPlus Communications Committee, the PVC Network and Sector Groups linked to VinylPlus.
With the aim of expanding the scope of its communications activities, in 2015 VinylPlus supported ten joint communications projects. They were implemented by four European industry sector federations and three national PVC associations.
In 2015, VinylPlus published three new brochures: ‘On the Road to Sustainability: The ongoing Progress of VinylPlus’, highlighting how the European PVC value chain managed to become a role model for achieving sustainable change in industry; ‘How Regulation & Industry Innovation Have Eliminated Dioxins Emissions from PVC Production & Waste Incineration’, showing that PVC is not an issue in modern municipal solid waste incinerators; and ‘How Acid Gases from PVC Energy Recovery are Neutralized’, outlining how hydrogen chloride is neutralised in modern incinerators.
A set of criteria for a VinylPlus product label certification scheme was finalised. The feasibility of its implementation is under review.
As part of the commitment to promote its approach to the worldwide PVC industry, in April VinylPlus contributed to Vinyl India® 2015, the 5th International PVC & Chlor-Alkali Conference in Mumbai. VinylPlus made a presentation on the European PVC industry and its sustainability programme. The conference attracted more than 650 participants representing 335 companies from 15 countries.
VinylPlus also continued to actively share experience, knowledge and best practices with the other regional PVC associations in the GVC (Global Vinyl Council). In 2015 the GVC’s bi-annual meetings were organised in Cannes, France in April and in Tokyo, Japan in October.
The VinylPlus Voluntary Commitment was included in the Rio+20 Registry of Commitments in 2012. Since November 2013, VinylPlus has been a member of the Green Industry Platform (GIP), the global high-level, multi-stakeholder partnership led by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In 2015, Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative to the EU, and Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry of UNEP, participated as keynote speakers in the Vinyl Sustainability Forum.
“The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate commitments will offer a new narrative for industry: sharing prosperity and respecting the environment. As a member of the Green Industry Platform, the Vinyl Industry can actively contribute to the global sustainability agenda through its continuous efforts to reduce its environmental and climate footprint and to develop new green products, services and jobs that will support a more sustainable world.”
“UNEP welcomes all Sector initiatives such as VinylPlus, which recognize the challenges, set targets, engage stakeholders and demonstrate progress. 2015 will set the sustainability agenda through 2030 and beyond. No matter how you react, the trends that are driving the planet are driving the market. The private sector can see this as a new set of regulations, restrictions and red tape, or as a historic, immediate opportunity to innovate, grow new markets, and build new relationships with customers and other stakeholders to help society meet the challenge of change. UNEP stands ready to work with those visionaries.”
Stakeholders Events, Conferences and Exhibitions
In March, VinylPlus contributed to the PVC Formulation 2015 conference in Cologne, Germany, with a speech on ‘The PVC industry in Europe and sustainable development’. The event showcased the latest innovations in PVC resins, vinyl compounds and additives, as well as market trends.
In March also, the Chairman of the Controlled-Loop Committee presented ‘PVC cables – a clear demonstration of the circular economy’ at the Cable 2015 conference, in Cologne, Germany.
With the theme ‘More Vinyl, Less Carbon’, the 3rd Vinyl Sustainability Forum in April 2015 in Cannes, France, brought together around 130 stakeholders from academia, government bodies, the UN, the European Commission, NGOs, retailers and all sectors of the PVC industry. Discussion focused on how the VinylPlus Voluntary Commitment is contributing to address climate change, by improving energy and resource efficiency and product sustainability, and moving the European PVC industry towards a circular economy; and how PVC products can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.
In October, VinylPlus participated in the Brussels Sustainable Development Summit 2015 organised by VITO. It contributed a poster and an oral presentation on ‘Moving the European PVC industry towards a low-carbon circular economy’ in a session dedicated to ‘Innovative value chains for sustainable process industry’.
In 2015, VinylPlus made significant efforts to enhance its online and social media communications. The objective was to widen the dialogue with external audiences, meaning stakeholders and the general public, by re-launching key messages and stimulating interaction. VinylPlus’ Twitter account – @VinylPlus_EU – became more effective and increased its number of followers. It became a valuable tool for dialogue over the Voluntary Commitment and sustainable development in general.